New Legislator Profile: Senator Andy Vidak

Senator Andy Vidak won the 16th Senate District in a special election in July.  CLFP had the opportunity to chat with the new Senator to learn more about him and his plans.  

Where did you grow up and what guided you as a youth?
I was born and raised in Visalia. My dad was a school teacher while I was growing up and my grandparents were in agriculture.  I had the opportunity to see many different lifestyles and career pathways.  I’ve always loved the idea of growing things and working with animals.  My grandmother gave me my first cow as an 8th grade graduation present and, today, I raise cattle in Tulare County.   Although I started college wanting to be a teacher, I kept being drawn to agriculture.  

Tell us about your cherry farming operation. What are the biggest issues and challenges you face in doing business in California? 
I love being a cherry farmer.  I also have a lettuce cooling business.  With cherries, every year there are new challenges, from some new pest, to the weather, to water issues.  One of the biggest challenges is a shortage of labor. 

How, when and why did you decide you wanted to get into politics? 
In 2009-2010, we were running out of water and I saw folks, real good, hard-working people standing in food lines getting food from China when they should have been working in this beautiful valley that has so many natural resources.  When I saw them getting carrots grown from China in the state food lines it made me mad and I had to get off the tailgate and got to work and try to do something. I ran for Congress and learned a lot from that experience.  I went back to the ranch and then the opportunity to serve in the Senate opened up.  I did a lot of thinking and praying about it and wondered could I win? Yes, I thought I could, but the more important question was can I make a difference once I got there.  It wasn't just about winning, and, yes, I think I can make a difference.  So we went after it and here I am.

What do you hope to accomplish in the Legislature? What challenges do you see in accomplishing your goals and how do you plan to overcome them?
The Valley desperately needs jobs.  Job creation is a top priority for me.  We desperately need water, so getting water storage will also be a focus.  We need affordable, sustainable water and we need affordable sustainable energy.  Coming from a family of educators, of course education is another top priority of mine.  Keeping our communities a safe place to live, work and raise families in is another focus of mine.  I will also work to put a stop to the boondoggle that High-Speed Rail has become.  Instead of taking on further debt to finance a train to nowhere, we should redirect that money to areas that need real investment such as water, education, healthcare and public safety.  All these goals are challenging and the best way to overcome them is talk to and work with people.

Lastly, what are your views on the regulatory environment in California?   Do you think it is conducive to fostering a robust economic recovery in this State?
California is over-taxed and over-regulated.  We need to have a business-friendly environment that fosters business growth and job creation.  We need to bring common sense back to Sacramento so that we can put people back to work.  


For more information about Senator Vidak, visit his web page at

California League Of Food Producers